Upstate Scene War: Rockets Over the Pruyn House

Albany: Oh man, did you see this week’s concert listings? Someone messed up big time. On Friday night, they’ve got Wheel Dio, Stake Knife and Cake Gobbling Merkin playing up at Ting’s Tavern in Saratoga, the same night that we’ve got Gassy Veal Kittens, Space Chubby and a Drunknard poetry reading at Mister Larry’s Music Space here in Albany. This is a problem! Why would anybody book another big local show on top of ours? This seems to happen every single time we get something big lined up! Why, dammit? Why?

Saratoga: Oh, there’s no problem here, really, Albany. We can just combine the two shows into one at Ting’s Tavern, see? I mean, six bands isn’t so bad considering Stake Knife only plays for 10 minutes. Plus, you can’t drink at Mister Larry’s, or at least not legally anyway, so why not just take this whole gig out of Albany and move it up the road to Saratoga and have great night out for the whole scene? I’ll give you 10% of the door and 5% of the bar and you can buy some nice little art for your nice little nonprofit music space. Or a pizza. What do you say?

Albany: How come Saratoga is always messing with Albany, huh? You think you’re better than us? Well, I think it’s time that we come up there and hapkido your ass, Saratoga! Then when that’s done, we need to drag your pretentious, horsey-loving, plaid-stretch-waistbanded-fancy-pants-clad asses back down here to Albany to have a little sit down under the bright lights to let you know what’s going to happen if you book another unapproved out-of-town gig for our local Albany artists again!

Clifton Park: The head of the dojo we take our kids to says that hapkido is only for self defense. So Saratoga would have to attack Albany first, or it would be a violation of the rules. We’ll bring it up at school tonight when we’re meeting with the principal and the guidance counselors to make sure that all of our kids get into all the talented and gifted and advanced preparatory courses they need to make us all proud, so we don’t have to disown them and ship them off to Catholic schools in Waterford or Troy should they fail to make (and start on) the cross country, basketball, and lacrosse teams. There will be no average kids in our houses, no way!

Saratoga: Oh, I’ll attack first, Albany, you bet! Your thin, anemic blood will be spilt by psychic fire from Saratoga before you even get your Toyota Tercels out of your driveways! Bring it, little Capital City! We superior horse-folk will crush you with our fabulousness and complete and utter disregard for the less-than-wealthy people who populate your badly-furnished little swamp along the Hudson. For Mary Lou! Onward! Huttah!

Waterford: Oh, no, watch out! Upstate Scene War, with us in the middle! It’s on! Call the gang! Call the cops! Call Troy!

Troy: Troy represent! Ain’t nobody can take on Troy and be able to walk away! This Friday night, Troy will draw blood from both Saratoga and Albany simultaneously with a show by The Fearsome Furniture Fondlers at the Pretentious Arthaus Klownplex! Take that, you backward-looking, government-loving sissy towns! And, uh, now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve got a City Hall to sell so that we can send our kids to school. Later.

Albany: Yeah, that’s right, Troy, you just shut your collar over there! Everyone knows you’re just Albany’s little side-kick city, where we stick our community colleges and minor league ball clubs. The stuff that’s not nice enough to go into the suburbs.

Latham: Yeah, we get all the nice stuff. Sam’s Club. Latham Circle. Latham Circle Mall. Hoffman’s Playland. Latham Farms. We look down our noses at Troy.

Loudonville: Oh my heavens, will you look at this? Mindy Muffinstuffer and Heather Loudonvillian are holding a fundraiser for NPR this Friday at the Starbucks in Loudonville! Bring your tote bags and coffee mugs, everybody! Six dollar grande skim soy lattes, dust of nutmeg, vapor of cinnamon, stirred with cruelty-free, sustainable recycled wooden stickie thingies, for everybody! Yay!

Latham: Oh, shut your pie-hole, Loudonville! You don’t even really exist. What the hell’s a “hamlet,” anyway? You’re just a Bantustan for rich wingnuts. Latham is where it’s at! And we mean that literally, in the case of that Starbucks. You just like to say it’s in Loudonville to make the coffee-snob wingnuts who hang out there feel special.

Guy Who Esplains Thins: Latham is correct. The Starbucks in question is north of Newtonville. It is therefore impossible for it to be in Loudonville.

Loudonville: Latham is where we send our more marginal residents (and sometimes children) to work. It’s also where we feed.

Newtonville: Please don’t fight, Latham and Loudonville. Every time you do, I’m the one caught in the middle! Think of the children!

The Children of Newtonville: We live on Maxwell Road, right on the bitterly contested Latham-Loudonville border. At night, we fall asleep to the sound of rockets flying over the Pruyn House.

Newtonville: See? There’s the problem: most of Maxwell Road is actually in Newtonville. In fact, the heart of Newtonville is the intersection of Maxwell and Route 9. It’s us innocents who continually get blasted in the internecine war between the Loudonville and Latham Bantustans, with the trust funds on one side, and the wannabes on the other. We’re like the Kurds of Suburbia.

Osborne Road: We got it the best: blue collar neighborhoods with a Loudonville mailing address. Jacks the property values up like crazy, yo!

Pruyn House: We are the Switzerland of the northern suburbs, a little forested enclave filled with chocoholics, frolicking in the flowers. All people are safe in the neutral Pruyn House. Although we do have quotas for the number of Newtonvillians we will let in.

Old Niskayuna Road: Psych! I’m not in Niskayuna! I’m a Bantustan within a Bantustan! The slightly-rich Loudonvillians all pine to live on me, with the fabulously-rich ones who actually do!

Something-Shaker Road: We can’t even keep ourselves straight. All we know is that having the word “Shaker” in your road name means “higher traffic, lower property values.” Damn you, Old Niskayuna Road, Maxwell Road and Fiddlers Lane, how we hate you!!

Watervliet-Something Road: How do you think we feel?

Watervliet-Shaker Road: Is it any wonder I have an inferiority complex, given my parents’ low self esteem?

Spring Street Road: I have the best name of all times! I am a street and a road!

Troy-Schenectady Road: Well I guess I’m screwed, but good.

Watervliet-Shaker Road: Yeah, our motto is “Thank God for Troy-Schenectady Road!”

Latham: If we sealed our borders, all of the northern suburbs would starve and run out of hardware. Don’t push your luck, Loudonville. And by the way, Newtonville: we consider you to be our Sudetenland.

Loudonville: Yo, Latham, you are aware that Latham Farms isn’t really a farm, aren’t you? You’d starve if we isolated you from Albany!

Latham: Latham Farms honors our agrarian past. Now we don’t need farms. We have Sam’s Club, Target and Allstar Wine and Liquors. All of our needs are met within our borders! Plus, we’ve got the best water towers in the region. Dig those checkerboards, yo!

Menands: I think I can lay claim to the best water towers, actually.

Latham: What?! How can Menands claim better water towers than Latham?! Menands is nothing but a historical anomaly, like San Marino or the Vatican City. It is only a matter of time before it fragments, with its richer folks joining Loudonville and its poorer folks joining North Albany. What a silly, useless little town it is!

Colonie: Menands is ours, you fools. And, really, don’t you all realize that you all effectively live within Colonie anyways?

Latham: Shutup, Colonie! You’re always trying to lord it over all of us that “Oh, look! I’m the township! You’re just hamlets!” Well, piss off, you! Because the only part of you that matters is the strip between Route 5 and Sand Creek Road, that none of the rest of us want. That’s nothing to be proud of, fool!

Colonie: Look, facts are facts, and if you don’t live in Albany, then you’re pretty much in Colonie. Unless you’re in Troy, in which case you’d be wise to keep your mouth shut.

Latham: See, Colonie, it’s just that attitude that makes us set up our own little hamlets. You’re like the Holy Roman Empire, with a little self-satisfied government sitting in Town Hall while the Huns and Goths from Watervliet and Cohoes are terrorizing the hinterlands. No wonder Loudonville and Latham have to take care of our own affairs. We sneer at you, Colonie. And The LORD is clearly on our side, because we are home to the largest evangelical church in this region. It’s a big box church to go with our big box stores. We’re a big box kind of hamlet. But we’ll be all set when the Day of Judgment comes, all self-contained and happy while all the heathen Loudonvillians roast in their own rich juices.

Heather Loudonvillian: Did someone call for me? I could certainly use a little roasting in my own juices, if you know what I mean, after all those crantinis and wine coolers I just had down at the Club with Mindy Muffinstuffer. Who’s on first? It’s tee time! Hee hee! Hic! Urp . . .

Tommy Cohoes: Hey there, Heather Loudonvillian. I think I got just the baster for you!

Heather Loudonvillian: Urp!! Hic!!! I don’t feel so good, all of sudden. I think I need to . . . bleeeurrghhh! Bleeee-ARRRRGGHHHHH. Bleeuarrgh-uh-peck-a-wretch-a-kopf!

Guy Who Esplains Thins: Peckawretchakopf was a brilliant composer and laptop player. I saw him at the Pretentious Arthaus Klownplex in Troy once, before he died of consumption and ennui.

Vrolobad Peckawretchakopf (in Hell): Zank you, Guy Vot Esplainses Zins. Ich bin gut to be remembert. Das Sigh.

8 thoughts on “Upstate Scene War: Rockets Over the Pruyn House

  1. You do know your Iowa readers won’t understand a bit of this… : )

    The Capital District of New York. We put the “fun” in dysfunctional!


  2. lnm: I actually wrote a scholarly study during my graduate degree work about the Russian Orthodox church in Maplewood. If I can find it, I’ll post it here.

    Lisa: I had to cut out a good chunk of the Tommy Cohoes/Heather Loudonvillian interaction . . . it wasn’t savory. But I love this long piece for two main reasons: the imagery of Rockets over the Pruyn House, and the ability to refer to the Kurds of Suburbia . . .

    Schenectady: Sorry, brah. You guys missed out on this scene war . . . too many tall ones at Pinhead Susan’s maybe?


  3. Don’t forget Maplewood, a small slice of Colonie situated between Cohoes and Watervliet, where all of the school children once learned Ukranian and many now learn Russian in grade school. Very cool.


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